Starting something new and making it a habit in your daily life can sometimes be challenging. Here are 5 tips that specifically relate to establishing a regular meditation practice.
1. Start Small
If you are new to meditation you can start with 5-10 mins per day or something that is achievable for you. Take the pressure off yourself from thinking you need to meditate for long periods of time in the beginning. As you meditate for 5 minutes you will still experience benefits and you can gradually increase the time period as you start to build the consistency and confidence in your practice.
Sometimes in life the “getting to do” something can be harder than the actual doing of it. So make it easy to get to do it. Sometimes if we think we have to meditate for 30mins or an hour but haven’t built up to that it can be daunting and it actually becomes a barrier to doing it.
2. Create a Routine
Create a routine. Try and stick to a certain time of the day and a certain location. This routine helps establish the habit and makes it easier to meditate regularly.
It doesn’t have to be the exact same time every day. It could simply be the time of day after you wake up before breakfast, or when you get home from work before you eat dinner. Experiment and find what time of the day works for you and try to make that your routine.
3. Commit to 30 Days
A habit takes about 30 days to form. Be aware of that. Set yourself a 30 day goal and commit to it. Put it in your calendar and make it a priority.
You don’t even have to meditate very long each day. Even if you committed to 2 or 5 mins per day for 30 days it will build in the routine and habit into your consciousness. It is also something that is achievable. Then you are not setting yourself up to fail by committing to long periods of meditation. One hour or 2 hours per day is a lot, especially for someone trying to develop a regular practice.
By committing to and following through with even 2 mins a day you will still be building the habit and routine. And you can also meditate for longer during each session if you want. Be patient and gentle with yourself. And set yourself up to succeed.
4. Reflect on the Benefits
Take time to reflect on the benefits of meditation at the end of your meditation session. Scan your feelings, your body, your mind and your general state of being. Are you more relaxed? More peaceful? These are some of the benefits of meditating, and taking a moment to be aware of this and appreciate it helps anchor in that meditation is actually something that delivers good results in your life.
The more you establish a connection between meditating and feeling clearer, more peaceful and uplifted, the easier it becomes to sit down and practice each day.
A specific way to do this is to take a moment before you begin your meditation and scan your body, mind and emotions and rate out of 10 your sense of peace, joy and relaxation. Then just after you complete your mediation scan yourself again and rate your state again.
5. Let Go of Expectations
Let go of your expectations about what you think should be happening when you meditate as these can be very discouraging. For example, people who are starting to meditate often think that they need to control their mind, and that when they are drifting off in their mind that they are doing something wrong. That’s not the case. It’s not about controlling or stopping your mind, it’s more about getting above your mind. Allow your mind and your entire experience to be whatever it is – that state of consciousness is more important than anything else.